Romania’s President defends govt. amid protests

After nearly two weeks of anti-government protests, Romania's President took to national television to defend his government's tough austerity policies in the face of growing discontent.

President Traian Basescu acknowledged some citizens have lost faith but said the measures have pulled the country out of a recession, the Associated Press reported.

The International Monetary Fund is forecasting a mere 2 percent growth for Romania this year.

In a 35-minute nationally televised speech from the presidential palace, Basescu said his government would continue to create more jobs, fight against corruption and tax evasion.

On Wednesday, the US Ambassador to Romania, Mark H. Gitenstein, criticized the country's high-level corruption.

"I know what needs to be done," Basescu said. "We are where we should be. Romania has come out of a recession."

It was the President's first speech since protests began 13 days ago.

More from GlobalPost: Romania's PM calls for unity as thousands protest

“When I was the captain of a ship I never failed to bring my ship to port and I won’t fail to bring Romania to safe harbor,” he said, according to Romania Business Insider.  “The belief that the president no longer represents the people is false. The president’s obligation is to represent them continuously, as the president has been elected through direct vote.”

However, many Romanians have been calling for his government's resignation and on Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered in Bucharest for another day of demonstration, despite cold temperatures and heavy snow.

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